There is a month left in the regular season for the Eastern baseball team, and after losing a three-game series to Morehead State last weekend, the Panthers are now in eighth place in the OVC.
There are 13 conference games left for the Panthers, as well as five nonconference matchups.
The Eastern offense has been potent all season and is still leading the OVC in runs scored with 252, which is 39 more than the next closest teams.
The Panthers’ team on-base percentage of .380 is also the best in the conference. They also lead the OVC with 340 hits and 166 walks.
The offense is led by redshirt-sophomore shortstop Trey Sweeney, who is perhaps the top offensive threat in the entire conference.
Sweeney is slashing .397/.521/.746 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI in 35 games.
His .521 on-base percentage and .746 slugging percentage both lead the OVC, as do his 50 RBI, 94 total bases and 29 walks.
He ranks second in the conference in home runs, hits and runs scored.
Eastern rightfielder Logan Eickhoff has been out since March 27 with an injury, but still leads the OVC with a .435 batting average.
His 40 hits still rank 10th in the conference despite his 13 missed games.
Redshirt-senior first baseman Christian Pena has an OPS of just .603 this season, but has come through in big spots for the Panthers.
As a result, he ranks seventh in the conference with 32 RBI.
Tennessee Tech has scored the fewest runs in the OVC with 149, but their 28 games are also the fewest in the conference this season.
Pitching is where Eastern has struggled at times this season.
The Panthers’ team ERA of 6.48 is the second-highest in the OVC, trailing only Eastern Kentucky’s 6.70 ERA.
The Colonels are in last place in the OVC this season.
Most of the damage against Eastern has come via hits, which the Panthers have allowed a conference-high 384 of.
They have managed to limit walks, issuing fourth-fewest in the OVC this season with 124.
They have also allowed 43 home runs, the fourth most in the conference.
Despite the struggles of the staff, redshirt-sophomore righty Cameron Doherty has been one of the most effective pitchers in the OVC so far this season.
His 3.62 ERA ranks sixth in the conference, well below the OVC’s average ERA of 5.73.
He also ranks fifth in innings pitched (49.2), fourth in strikeouts (50) and second in saves (3).
He has walked just 10 batters on the season.
The conference’s top pitching team is Jacksonville State, which is in fifth place in the standings.
The Gamecocks have a team ERA of 4.46, the best in the OVC by 0.29 points.
Eastern will be back in action at home Thursday and Friday with a three-game series against Tennessee-Martin.
The Skyhawks are one spot behind Eastern in the standings with a conference record of 5-7.
The teams will play a single game Thursday at 1 p.m. and a doubleheader on Friday with the games starting at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]